One of the best books I read while attending seminary was Peter Kreeft’s “Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion.” It feels like a classic, and it is a book that I continue to revisit from time to time. Kreeft begins with a simple question, “Is virtue out of date,” and continues the conversation by asking, “Whatever became of virtue?”
Christians like all other sinners, have always been susceptible to vice, but today we no longer seem to know what vice and virtue are.
The solution to the first problem is repentance and divine grace—something a book [and I would add, a blog post] cannot help much with. But the solution to the second problem is knowledge, and there a book can help.
The thing is: virtue must be learned, taught, and practiced. This is how we increase our knowledge. Parents of young children understand this full well. We are in a constant pattern of teaching, correcting, and providing discipline because we love our children, and we want them to grow-up to become virtuous people.
The same is true of our spiritual maturity. When we grow in our understanding of the very spiritual things that we lack, we can then practice what we have learned until that practice becomes a habit, that habit becomes a discipline, and that discipline shapes our character.
When I think of mentoring as intentional discipleship, specifically regarding my mentoring relationships with young people, so much of that service involves leading a virtuous life in front of them (i.e. leading by example), teaching them how to “be” in this world, and then giving them the opportunities to practice or “do” what they have seen modeled and taught.
This is what we are doing through our nonprofit organization, Leadership LINKS, Inc., “LINKS Mentoring Program.” Every month, we meet with a small group of middle school girls to provide mentoring and leadership training. Not only do we present ourselves as leadership role models, we regularly introduce them to other leaders throughout history and around the world who are living virtuous lives by loving God and loving other people.
This year, we have been pleased to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Specifically, we are supporting the work of The King Center as they honor the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. Our nonprofit is participating in their “Love of Humanity: 50 Acts of Service or Kindness” campaign. This campaign began during Dr. King’s birthday celebration weekend (January 15th) and continues through April 9, 2018.
During our January mentoring session, we asked our 7th and 8th grade LINKS Leaders to identify 10 acts of love and kindness that our LINKS Network can do to exhibit our five Core Values of Love, Inspiration, Network, Knowledge, and Service. This is what they came up with. Will you join us in this effort?
All you have to do is practice and share any acts you have completed since the beginning and through the end of the campaign. Complete an act on this list, or another act that aligns with our five core values, and then let us know when you do. You can notify us (please include your first name, state, and identify the act of love or kindness however big or small) in two ways:
- Use the #MLKForward and #LINKS50Acts hashtags when sharing your action on social media, or
- Email us this information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We only have four more weeks to complete this campaign. Our LINKS Leaders will celebrate its completion with a trip to Atlanta, GA during the weekend of April 9th where they will participate in the #MLK50Forward Next Generation Focus events, and the Service and Memorial March from Ebenezer to Morehouse (commemorating Dr. King funeral procession).
You can encourage and Inspire our LINKS Leaders by helping us reach our 50 Acts goal. The King Center is also inviting global faith leaders to commemorate Dr. King and his vision for change in weekend services from April 6-8th.
In what ways are you honoring Dr. King’s virtuous commitments to love, service, and kindness?